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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Ocean City, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Oxalis crassipes identification
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I'm trying to identify a plant that has appeared in several containers on my balcony. The largest plant is about a foot tall, with triangular leaves, small white flowers with yellow centers, and has just grown green berries. I'm not sure if I should pull it up or fertilize it. Thank you so much for your help.

ANSWER:

Sometimes we can identify a plant from a description; often we cannot. The only plant that comes to mind for us is the South American native White wood sorrell, Oxalis crassipes. It is a common greenhouse and container weed. This species also has a pink-flowered form. If this is not the plant in your container, a picture or set of pictures will help. Here's how to send them to us:

1. Tell us where and when you found the plant and describe the site where it occurred.

2. Take several images including details of leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and the overall plant.

3. Save images in JPEG format, with resolution set at 300 pixels per inch.

4. Send email with images attached to id@smartyplants.org. Put Plant Identification Request in the subject line of your email.

 

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